Seattle is one of the world’s largest e-commerce hotspots, with commercial giants including Amazon, Etsy, Zappos, Groupon, and more, calling the city their home. These companies, like smaller businesses in Seattle, utilize SEO to target local and international traffic, but unlike those big businesses, you as a smaller company have one disadvantage. You’re invisible. In fact, Google doesn’t even see you. Unless you have a reputation, a stake in Google stocks, or happen to be a Google employee, your website or blog is entirely at the mercy of Google’s ever changing algorithms and bots, meaning that you, or the Seattle SEO company promoting your site, must follow the rules.
But what are those SEO rules? Google’s constant release of new updates and changes have left many people confused about correct SEO keyword density, what backlinks are permitted, and now, what social media has to do with your SEO.
Google Algorithm Changes
“There’s been a Penguin update” five little words that are guaranteed to send every webmaster and blog owner scrambling to check their ranking and traffic. The last Penguin update in December of 2012 affected more than 1.6% of queries, and new updates next year could affect more than 6%.
Penguin went live on April 24th of 2012 and with sister Google Algorithm update Panda, proceeded to turn the world of SEO upside down, affecting a combined total of more than 18% of searches. The aim of both of these updates was to lower the ranking of poor quality sites and raise high quality ones to the top of the search. What Panda and Penguin also did was hit any quality sites that were using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, link farms, or other ‘fake’ SEO. The first wave of changes promoted quality over quantity for both links and content, but changes are not over yet.
The Integration of Social Media and Authorship
In October of 2012, Matt Cutts posted a video on the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel about guest blogging, explaining that to most sites, the guest blog was obsolete. Posting a great deal of poor quality articles linking back to other sites is only likely to raise a red flag to Google search bots, which would lower the traffic. He then went on to explain that if the author were respected, qualitative, and had a following, the guest blog might be very much worth the websites time. This was the first indication of how the new Google Authorship will affect search engine rankings.
Google created a Google ‘Author’ page earlier this year, allowing site owners to link their Google + to their website or to guest blogs. The result is that persons who utilized authorship could view their search rankings and impressions, and anyone looking for the article could view the authors name and photo with Google + profile just below the article in search.
Now, that Google + profile, combined with Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and other social media accounts will be affecting search results. Authors with influence, a history of writing quality content, and a strong niche will soon be ranked above authors without that following, and who write about anything and everything. Social media interactions from company social will also affect search. This new algorithm is beginning to roll out now, and is expected to be fully in place as soon as June of next year.
How New Google Algorithms Affect Your Local Seattle SEO
Whether you’re trying to promote your services or company to the world, or just doing a bit of local SEO, the new Google algorithms affect your results in many ways. With the pure volume of affected search results, you can’t afford to ignore new algorithms, and you can’t afford to ignore your social. Rather than a simple promotion platform, the interaction on your social sites will soon be just as important to your SEO strategy as your content and your back links. International and local Seattle SEO are both affected, so it is important to focus on spreading your optimization through social, quality backlinks, and quality site content.